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Search Tags: Pentagon & Beyond
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is not happy with the slow pace of using unmanned Predator drone aircraft. They've had great success in Afghanistan, dating back to early 2008. Gates told the Air Force Academy Friday that "it's been like pulling teeth" to get more of the planes "because people were stuck in old ways of doing business." Gates also clashed with Air Force leadership over production of the top-of-the-line, F-22 Raptor. He said pressure to build more than twice the number budgeted by the Defense Department is a problem.
According to the Pentagon, two soldiers assigned to the Aberdeen Proving Ground have been killed in Afghanistan. Twenty-five-year-old Staff Sgt. Chauncy Mays of Cookville, Texas, and 22-year-old Spc. Christopher Stark of Monett, Mo., died Monday in Wardak province when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device. They were assigned to the 63rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion, 20th Support Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground.
There are reports from Iran that small pockets of protestors took to the streets yesterday, inspired by the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. Sources say the Iranian government has cleverly refrained from deadly force against the protesters publicly, instead injuring them and sending them to hospitals. Several sources reports however, men and women wearing doctors and nurses uniforms were roaming the hallways, but they are actually members of the notorious Basijee or auxiliary police who work for government. There are reports patients may have been attacked.
The Pentagon has moved some of its forces in the region near Libya into position, but won't say for what. Defense Department spokesman Col. Dave Lapan says Pentagon planners are working on various options and contingency plans as the violence aimed at overthrowing the government continues. As a part of that planning, the Pentagon is repositioning some naval and air forces. The U.S. has a regular military presence in the Mediterranean Sea and farther to the south has two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf area.
The Army has to get ready for the future, which includes complex threats from terrorists seeking weapons of mass destruction, hostile nation-states capable of nuclear warfare and the modern militaries being assembled in Russia and China. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told West Point cadets on Friday, they are joining a force that has been under pressure, but even though they've been stressed, they've been resilient. This is likely Gates last address to West Point. He's expected to leave the post this year.
Did a U.S. military psychological operations unit in Afghanistan try to persuade visiting U.S. senators to increase war funding? A Rolling Stone magazine article quotes the leader of the Army unit, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Holmes, who seems to substantiate it. According to the article Homes says he objected to what he saw as an illegal use of his team's skills on American citizens. The article said the unit was ordered by Lieutenant General William Caldwell, a three-star commander in charge of training Afghan troops, to target visiting dignitaries.
Kuwait's Ambassador to the U.S. says Kuwait is safe from the kinds of protests that have toppled the governments in Egypt and Tunisia. His Excellency Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah says the protests that have taken place there are a group of people who came there from Iraq, Syria and other places and destroyed their identification papers hoping to convince the government they are Bedouins and be granted citizenship. Why? In Kuwait, Housing is free for all, so is education and there are no taxes.
Stratfor Global Intelligence is reporting Ukrainian pilots were involved in the strafing of Libyan protestors. An Arab diplomat close to the Libyan government told them the MiG pilots were Ukrainian. The Ukrainian military says none of its pilots were involved in the activity. Stratfor also reported on February 21, boats operated by Italians attacked demonstrators in Benghazi and Tripoli. The source's information also indicated that the Egyptian army prevented a convoy of trucks carrying aid to Libya from crossing the border.
Is the U.S. considering movement of forces in the Middle East to respond to Iran's plans to send two warship through the Suez Canal? A spokesman for Secretary Defense Robert Gates says, "we do not discuss the future movement of forces. We do have numerous assets in the region that are prepared to respond to contingencies if necessary." An Israeli official described the Iranian announcement as a public relations stunt.
CIA Director Leon Panetta told senators yesterday if the U.S. captures top al-Qaida leaders Osama Bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri, they would likely be sent to the Guantanamo Bay military prison. What does that say about President Obama's plan to close Gitmo? White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president remains committed to closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Carney would not speculate on what would happen in the unlikely event Osama Bin Laden were captured alive.